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Knitting Gone Wild

Dear Kay,
sleevebooboo.JPG
Are you wondering what this might be? A decorative textural element along the sleeve seam of my Jack n Eddie sweater? A giant bobble? A snag? Nope, nope, and nope.
This is a sleeve being sewn to a side seam. If I had continued on my way, I would be half done with a poncho for my seven year old. This is called “not paying attention to what you’re doing.” I was admiring the way the zigzags were semi-lining up, feeling clever and Beckyish, when I noticed a pooch-up along the seam. Hunh, I thought. That’ll flatten out when I’m done.
I often use knitting time as my meditation, especially when I’m overwhelmed with life around me. So soothing! So calming! I think I need to get that king-size bed blanket project going for times like these: matching up edges seems to be a bit much to ask.
Love,
Ann

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Well, but, it’s awfully neat. I mean, I really admire the quality of the incorrect stitches. “E” for effort.

  2. “I was admiring the way the zigzags were semi-lining up, feeling clever and Beckyish”.
    I love coming in here! There’s always something in each entry that makes me laugh out loud. Love ya! Keep ‘em coming :-)
    P.S. I swear I just did that with my son’s preppy sweater. The sleeve cap is shaped via decreases only. No bind-offs that tell you, “Hey! Guess what? This is where the armhole ends, slappy.” Caught myself when I made it to the second block of color on the body of the sweater. Hehe.

  3. Dear Ann, This sort of thing is why I am NOT documenting my endless Core sew-up for all of Blogville to gape at in pity and disbelief. At the appropriate time, and not a minute before, I will present a Core that has seemingly dropped from the sky with all its (many) bits and bobs intact, smoothed over (and over, and over) by Rowenta, and looking very respectable, if somewhat weary. All grappling and tearful snipping of seams is being done behind the curtain.
    And while you and Becky are having your little sob-sister session (‘oh, woe is us, why can’t we be even MORE perfect in our finishing techniques’???), I was sewing Core’s left arm into the right armhole (twice). This makes a huge difference when you have plackets on the cuffs–even I could see that you want the button on the outside of your wrist, not the inside. Or at least I could see it after I had gotten the sleeve set in through a painful procedure I do not care to go into at this time. Then, still feeling a bit too good about myself, I sewed one of the cuff edgings on backwards, so that if one were inclined to button the cuff, one would have to put the button inside the sleeve.
    I really can’t explain, even to myself, how I happened to sew the same sleeve into the same wrong armhole twice. I mean, there was only one other option–how did I miss that???
    Help. Me. Now. Kay

  4. get thee to a finishing class!!! nahhhh, that wont help. i must say, ann, your work is beautiful, even if your sewing up is, uhhhmmm, less than perfect (on this project anyway. i have seen moonbeam and the finishing is lovely.) at least you didnt sew it to the tablecloth or your khaki pants as you held it in your lap!!
    kay — i was wondering what the heck happened to core. is this what i can look forward to when i make my “kay wanna be part 2 sweater?” the first wanna be sweater being, of course, “smoulder.” forge on bbg, forge on. you will need this sweater for your vaca!
    editors of mdk —new look is great. picture of hammy is oh, sooooo, umh, v. rodent like (in fact, i think that he might have smiled for his photo op). btw….the aligator that was living with the 425lb tiger finally got some press of his own! whole story on him, front page of the nytimes thank you, on how the presence of an aligator in an apartment is usually big news except when aligator roommate is a bengal tiger!!

  5. I’m not sure they cover ‘the right arm goes in the right armhole’ in finishing class; I’m certain that they cannot help you if you have difficulty understanding this concept. I’ve never taken a finishing class because I’m really really devilishy wickedly good at mattress stitch; I feel quite sure that I did it, a lot, in a prior life. I have no desire to bind off my shoulder seams simultaneously or short-row them or anything fancy like that. Finishing is hard! That’s it! Just plain hard! No help for it! No use whining about it!! This is why normal people BUY SWEATERS.

  6. Mary Neal–I know, I know–I should have just kept going: David would look really great heading into school in his gansey-pattern poncho.
    Lis–Thanks for the way-too-big-for-the-apartment pet update. And as for taking a finishing class, at this point I have so many weird habits that I would mystify any teacher.
    Kay–I love pretending that I know what the heck Becky is talking about. She is at some cosmically informed level of knitting.
    Let me ask you this, mattress queen: When you’re stitching, do you take a half stitch along the edge, or a whole stitch? I’m looking at the Kelly you made for me, and I’m guessing it’s a whole stitch. A book I have (the mother of all knitting books, Principles of Knitting) says you can take half a stitch, and I can see easily enough how that works. But my edge stitches are NEVER uniform enough for me to do that. It’s a whole stitch or the stapler. Comments? Thoughts? PowerPoint presentation? Streaming real-time video of you seaming something?
    And finally, I was reading in the mother of all blogging books, Principles of Blogging, that it is paramount for a blogger to show a work in all its stages, in all its miserable glory. Remember: misery shared is misery halved. At the very least, it makes everybody else feel better.
    x A.

  7. Re: Mattress stitch, I sometimes take half a stitch but usually take a whole stitch, especially on a big old straightaway like a side seam or sleeve seam. It seems too flimsy to just have that single thread on either side of the sewing-up thread, and I don’t mind the thicker seam as long as there’s plenty of room for it. When it’s mattressed, it’s still a lot neater than a backstitch seam, at least a backstitch seam as executed by yours truly. For me, there’s too much yarn in a backstitch seam, with all that overlapping. I did use backstitch on the cuff edgings of Core, because it made them look more defined on the right side.

  8. I admire your bravery–I didn’t have the guts to show off my ugly maple leaves on my own stinkin’ blog (I opted to show the frogged yarn piles instead). Good knitters make mistakes–it’s the knowing when and why to frog that makes ‘em great!

  9. Boy, you folks made me smile today. Thank god I’m not the only one who turns pullovers into ponchos (partway). I’m sorry, I hate the sewing up. I really do. I’ve tried to get into the zen of it, and have developed a hundred little tricks and reward systems to make myself do it, but I just hate it. At one point I had a very nice cardigan going along, three rows left, and there it sat. And sat. I finally realized I was putting off the final knitting because of dread of the button placket. That’s when I decided that sometimes, when you’re facing the dark places of knitting, it’s o.k. to drop the thing off at the yarn store for the sewing and placketing and just move on to the next project. It was really a very liberating experience, especially for someone who once unravelled an entire Dale sweater knit on 0’s and 2’s (o.k., it was a baby sweater, but still! baby couture!) because she discovered a mistake in the rib pattern when she got to the second sleeve….

  10. Evelyn–That is just a heartbreaking story. Here’s my question about the tempting drop-it-off-at-yarn-store approach: do you find yourself microscopically examining the quality of their work, and finding fault with it? Gotta run! Only the pocket tops left!! Good news: there is no left and right with pocket tops–WOO HOO!!! Just eyeball the center of the textured panels, plop em on, and you’re good to go with the silver buttons.

  11. Ann–I had an anxiety dream last night in which your sweet David had to wear a poncho to school. All his chums (Robert E. Lees 1 through 6 and even little Porter Waggoner IV) were taunting him with ‘Your Mom knit THAT???’ So no let’s have no more talk of ponchos!
    xox Kay

  12. Hi Ann & Kay
    I’ve got to say that the near-perfect pattern matching would have made Jack n Eddie into a great poncho… OK, maybe the 7y.o. isn’t into ponchos, ah well – I’d like to know who HASN’T had to unpick at least one sewn-in sleeve in their knitting lifetime!
    I hate it when I have to as I always use backstitch in little stitches & ripping it out is a nightmare (somehow I’m always afraid my seams will unravel & so they’re sewn tight – probably too tight!).
    Rapunzel update:
    Thankfully no seams have had to be ripped on Rapunzel – I even got the weird I-cord at the back sussed, which leads from the cable in a wondrous way – hubbie even commented “I like the way the cable goes up the back” … praise indeed – Jean Moss are you reading?
    I’ve just got to steam/lightly press those seams & get the crochet done – all should be easily achieved by the deadline (wedding saturday 2.30pm). Yeay!!
    Kay – I need a mattress stitch tutorial – any chance of one at MDK?
    Jo
    xxx

  13. Kay– !!!
    A.

  14. Jo–you mean you have not enrolled at Mason-DixonUniversity.com? The nation’s only institute of higher learning in which the entire faculty is self-taught? It’s right up there with Hamburger College (you have to be a certain age to remember the McDonald’s commercials featuring Hamburger College!).
    I learned mattress stitch from one of those Harmony guides or some such. Recently I read the best treatment of it ever in Sally Melville’s new book, The Purl Stitch. She even shows you precisely how to start it and how to finish it, which I always free-lanced up til now. Highly recommended for this alone, but there are many other nice things in the book. Happy mattressing, love, Kay

  15. Kay — Well, I did examine my cardigan rather suspiciously to make sure I was getting my money’s worth (they had done a very nice job), but when I tried it on and realized I actually had an article of clothing to wear rather than a guilt trip sitting in one of my many knitting baskets, wow! Of course, the little ego note from the finisher about what a beautiful sweater it was didn’t hurt either. (Although I bet they do that for all their soul weary knitters.) Kind of like having the shoe salesman say “wow, those heels look great on you! They really set off your calf muscles!” (They do, don’t they? Thank you, I’ll take them.)
    If I ever finish knitting my husband’s sweater (it has turned into a purgatory project — moss stitch…lots of color changes…big guy…WHAT was I thinking? His Arizona Stripe is going faster than that moss stitch lunacy!), I will probably send it off for finishing just to be rid of the darn thing. And it will feel SO g-o-o-d…

  16. Ah, this concept of “sending it off” for finishing. This is why I love knitting in the round. Raglan sleeves for everything! Heh. Also probably why I love the dear sweet tank tops so. If M-DU doesn’t offer a course on finishing, then I am going to heighdy-ho myself to the local store and beg those ladies to share their knowledge! These comments have made me realize the reason I’m still lacking a sleeve on the super-pink cardigan for my sister: I fear to mightily screw up a way-cool garment on the finishing end. ;)

  17. arg finishing … not one of my favorite things, mostly because i am not an expert at it and i have these issue’s finishing things … ummm perhaps i can get some counsellingin that.
    as I showed Ann today, the stripe sweater i’m doing well .. its definately being sent out when its done, there is NO way i am weaving in those ends.
    kay: saw the sweater that Ann is doing for you, that chenille is nice, i must admit!

  18. I just want to meet the stout-constitutioned person who can stomach an endless diet of finishing projects that other people have knitted. Slightly stretching buttonhole bands into eternity, picking up collars day after day, sewing buttons, buttons, buttons–I’m getting queasy just sitting here.

  19. I’m with you, Rene. I have decided against so many projects based on my chicken-*%^$ inability to contemplate finishing. I do most of my knitting in the round, with raglan sleeves, too. June H H has a lovely section on making raglan sleeves by either increasing or decreasing, and making the stitches symmetrical! Bright idea: I should just get my mother to finish all my work. She does it so well. Or maybe I should get her to show me how . . .
    Anyway, when I get back to the USSA, I’ll send in a picture of my latest project which, alas, lies 20 rows short of completion in my attic.

  20. Morgan–uh-oh! The chenille cardi, a/k/a Dreadnought, has been started? Is Ann all frowny about it or is she bearing up well? (Email me or just post a comment at annsmood2day.com, which I’m checking hourly for the duration of the Curlsandpurls knitalong.) As for me, I’m having a super easy, almost soothing time with Ann’s Elfin. Maybe that’s because I haven’t cracked a ball band yet. Soon!

  21. OK–I absolutely MUST know–who is the gorgeous child new to the Found Objects section?!

  22. Brooks–If you click on the dates at the bottom of the column, you can read the dishy details of our Found Objects. We think of this as our Premium Service, available only to those elite readers who, um, scroll down the page.

  23. Brooks, I require very little prompting to brag endlessly about the fact that I first met Rosie in July 2002 in China, the trip of a lifetime that I was privileged to make with Rosie’s mom Diana. Not only is Rosie very handy to knit small adorable things for and purchase all manner of rose-themed kitsch for, she is bright as a new penny and extremely good natured. A low point in the rose-themed kitsch department is that I recently picked up a copy of Madonna’s (yes, that Madonna) new children’s book called The English Roses. A pretty lame book but I couldn’t leave the Gap without the rosy tote bag it came in. Thanks for allowing me this moment of auntly nachas (Yiddish for boundless pride in one’s children).

  24. Hunting season IS here ladies. With my husband’s birthday ever so close, please send ideas for knitting the much needed gear a hunter requires.

  25. Hello Buffy,
    Are you Buffy as in Ann’s sister Buffy, and if so, are you making fun of us?
    Perhaps the answers to these questions are obvious.
    I do have a great pattern for a balaclava, which I assume would come in handy in a duck blind. And how about wristlets? Would wristlets be good? xox Kay

  26. HEY SISSY! So pleased you stopped by for a visit. Hug! Kissy!
    Kay, you bet your bippy it’s my sister, the one and only hurricane-survivin’, fishin-in-the-flood, schoolteachin’ Buffy.
    Her hubbo is most definitely a hunter, the fill-the-freezer-with-venison kind. I see endless knitting opportunity when it comes to something you get up at 4 am to do. It’s cold out there! Sissy, it starts with the Lion Brand camouflage-multicolor worsted I discovered at Michael’s not too long ago. You could do wristlets with shotgun shell holders, a hat with Elmer Fudd earflaps, a vest with more shotgun shell holders. And you could do an international orange safety vest with (what else?) deer horn toggles. Come on, sis, you know he would love it.
    Love, Sissy

  27. Lis did a hat for her nephew in that camo yarn and it was SO FAB. He loved it. So Buffy, take note. And Lord knows you will be able to find the right shade of orange in Red Heart or Lion. The huntin’ hubster will be safe AND stylish! No Fab Five required for HIM!
    xox Kay